Attorney Courtney Werning Named Principal At The Meyer Wilson Law Firm

Meyer Wilson, a national law firm focused on investor claims and class and mass actions, is pleased to announce the promotion of Attorney Courtney Werning to the position of Principal with the firm.

Ms. Werning joined Meyer Wilson as a law clerk in 2010 during her second year in law school. Over the past 12 years, she has earned a national reputation as a successful trial attorney in high-stakes disputes between individual investors and their financial advisers. Her practice includes litigation in state and appellate courts and many arbitration forums across the country.

“It’s been an honor to play an integral part in growing this firm,” said Ms. Werning.  “David and Matthew have been incredible mentors to me, and nothing has made me prouder in my professional life than partnering with them to continue the great work we do together.” 

Managing Principal David Meyer says, “Courtney Werning is a rock star, simple as that. She has the perfect mix of skilled advocacy and compassion, making her a fierce opponent when fighting for her clients against Wall Street, combined with a keen ability to connect with her clients so that they feel protected and in good hands. She is smart, thorough, detail-oriented and her case preparation and doggedness are unmatched. I am proud of Courtney’s success and excited about the continued growth of the firm.

”Over the past 22 years, the investor claims practice group at Meyer Wilson has gained national prominence in obtaining recoveries for their clients against financial institutions for investment-related misconduct. The firm has recovered more than $350 million for its clients nationwide. For more information, please visit InvestorClaims.com or MeyerWilson.com, or contact us at (614) 532-4576.

Ma Rosa Linan Abrego Barred by FINRA Over Misappropriation Inquiry

Ms. Abrego was recently barred by FINRA in the wake of allegations that she misappropriated client funds. Hailing from McAllen, Texas, Ms. Abrego was terminated by Merrill Lynch on June 10, 2019, after spending just three years at the company and in the securities industry at large. Merrill Lynch reported that she was terminated due to the misappropriation of client funds.

After Ms. Abrego’s termination, FINRA opened an investigation to determine if misappropriation had indeed taken place under her tenure as a broker. However, Ms. Abrego failed to appear for the inquiry as mandated by FINRA Rule 8210. Under Rule 8210, brokers are required to show up and cooperate with investigators – or risk becoming permanently barred from holding a position in the securities industry.

Knowing this, Ms. Abrego still chose not to appear before FINRA investigators or provide testimony about her actions at Merrill Lynch. As noted in her publicly-available BrokerCheck report, “Linan Abrego consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she refused to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested by FINRA.”

What Counts as Misappropriation of Funds?

Misappropriation of client funds is perhaps one of the most serious forms of investor misconduct, as it is defined as the illegal and intentional use of funds for an unauthorized purpose. Aside from facing FINRA sanctions and a lifetime ban in the securities industry, those who misappropriate client funds may be subject to both criminal and civil proceedings as well.  

At Meyer Wilson, we’re committed to holding investors accountable when their actions cause you to suffer financial harm. If you or someone you know has been affected by the misconduct of Ma Rosa Linan Abrego, you could be entitled to damages for your losses. Bringing over 50 years of legal experience to the table, our investment fraud attorneys can help you seek fair compensation.

For more information, contact our legal team at (614) 532-4576.

Did Michael Chandler of Infinex Investments Inc. Sell You Non-Traded REITs?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Michael Chandler, a Mississippi-based broker and investment adviser, recommended unsuitable, illiquid investments, including non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Chandler currently works for Infinex Investments Inc.

Chandler has been the subject of two customer disputes, one of which is still pending. Both allege non-traded REITs were inappropriately sold to Chandler’s customers. Infinex Investments Inc. settled one dispute after a customer alleged Chandler failed to disclose risks associated with non-traded REITs.

Non-traded REITs are highly risky, illiquid, and rarely suitable for most investors. They are not traded on a public exchange and cannot be sold readily in the market. FINRA has warned that this lack of liquidity creates a level of risk that is not suitable for most investors. Brokers are aware of why non-traded REITs are highly risky – they carry high fees, have limited liquidity, unclear distributions, valuation problems, and limited diversification.

Brokers have a duty to only recommend suitable investments in the best interest of their clients, and also to obtain sufficient information through reasonable diligence to ascertain a client’s investment profile. Failure to do so may result in liability for recommending unsuitable investments.

If you suffered losses in an account managed by Michael Chandler, the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation to discuss your legal options.

Did Gustavo Miramontes Make Unauthorized and Unsuitable Trades in Your Account?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that California-based broker Gustavo Miramontes engaged in unauthorized, unsuitable trading. Miramontes currently works for Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. He worked for Wedbush Securities, Inc. up to 2018.

Miramontes has been the subject of multiple customer disputes alleging unauthorized and unsuitable trades in customers’ accounts. Five disputes are still pending. His previous employers settled complaints for similar behavior, including a $431,401.45 settlement by Wedbush Securities Inc.

Unauthorized trading occurs when your financial professional makes trades on your account without your authorization. Your broker must obtain your permission before buying or selling anything for your account unless you’ve signed a written trading authorization that allows your broker to buy and sell securities in your account without having to contact you. However, that does not mean your broker can misuse or exceed this authority. Brokers and their firms who make unsuitable or unauthorized trades may be held liable for any sustained financial losses.

The securities and investment fraud lawyers at Meyer Wilson have the skills and experience that are specifically suited to the needs of victims of investment fraud. If you suffered losses due to Gustavo Miramontes’ unauthorized and unsuitable trading, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Did Indiana-Based Broker Seth Stewart Invest Your Money in Risky Securities?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Seth Stewart, an Indiana-based broker, engaged in the misrepresentation of unsuitable, illiquid, alternative investments. Stewart is no longer registered to sell securities, but he is still a licensed investment adviser representative, working at a firm called Brookstone Financial. He previously worked for the brokerage firm Center Street Securities, Inc.

Stewart has three customer disputes pending against him. All allege that Stewart sold them unsuitable, high risk, illiquid investments. FINRA rules require a broker to have a reasonable basis that the recommended investment strategy or transaction is in the best interest for the customer. Failure to do so may result in liability for recommending unsuitable investments.

If you were sold illiquid and high risk investments by Seth Stewart, the experienced investment misconduct attorneys at Meyer Wilson are interested in hearing from you. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation to discuss your legal options.

Did You Lose Money With Former Voya Financial Broker William Johnson?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that William Johnson, a Connecticut-based broker, made multiple unsuitable recommendations to purchase speculative, non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and other alternative investments, including Commodity Futures. Johnson has been registered with Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. since 2019. He previously worked for Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. for twenty years.

Johnson has been the subject of eleven customer disputes. Five complaints are currently pending in FINRA arbitration, and all five allege that Johnson recommended his clients invest in unsuitable, high risk alternative investments.

If you suffered investment losses while working with William Johnson of Voya financial, the experienced investment attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Working with the right legal team makes all the difference. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Were You Sold Non-Traded REITs by Former Cetera Broker Darryl Ferguson?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that Illinois-based broker Darryl Ferguson recommended unsuitable, non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Ferguson currently works for LPL Financial LLC. From 2007 to 2018, he was registered with Cetera Advisor Networks.

Ferguson is the subject of a $500,000 pending customer dispute, alleging that he recommended unsuitable, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) to his customers.

Non-traded REITs are illiquid, highly risky, and not suitable for most investors. Promoters of non-traded REITs say they offer a sizeable annual return from rental income and that after 7-10 years, property can be sold and investors can get their money back. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The downside to non-traded REITs is well-known in the securities industry – they carry high fees, valuation problems, limited diversification, and limited liquidity. Brokers and investment advisers can rarely justify recommendations to purchase non-traded REITs.

Even if a client desires diversification into the real estate sector, client interests are far better served by investing in lower cost liquid funds managed by individuals with expertise and incentives to construct diversified portfolios with real estate investments. Many brokers and advisers who recommend non-traded REITs to retail investors usually do so because of the large selling commissions they earn.

Brokers have a duty to recommend investments that are in the best interests of their clients. If you suffered financial losses due to the unsuitable recommendations of Darryl Ferguson, the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson would like to speak with you. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation to discuss your legal options.

Did You Suffer Losses in an Account Managed by Sebastian Wyczawski?

Meyer Wilson is investigating allegations that New York-based broker Sebastian Wyczawski engaged in excessive and unsuitable trading, including the use of margin, in customers’ accounts. Wyczawski currently works for VCS Venture Securities. He previously worked for Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C.

Wyczawski was suspended for five months and sanctioned by FINRA in connection with his engagement in excessive and unsuitable trading. He was also previously the subject of a customer complaint for unauthorized trading that was settled.

Excessive trading, or churning, typically occurs when a broker trades in a client’s account for the purpose of generate commissions. A high number of trades may not align with a customer’s financial circumstances and investment goals and result in investment losses for the client. FINRA rules require that brokers have a reasonable basis to believe a recommendation involving a security or securities is suitable for you. Otherwise, they may be held liable for your resulting investment losses.

If you suffered financial losses due to Sebastian Wyczawski’s excessive and unsuitable recommendations, contact Meyer Wilson today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Top 10 Warning Signs of Investment Fraud

How Investors Can Protect Themselves and Their Money

Investment fraud is prevalent in the United States and around the world. Scammers have targeted even the most sophisticated investors, promising high returns with little-to-no risk. To protect your investment, you should be on the lookout for fraudulent schemes and scams and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.

At Meyer Wilson, we provide dedicated representation to individuals who have been the victim of investment fraud and stockbroker misconduct. Our nationally-recognized legal team has handled over a thousand investor claim cases, recovering over $350 million on behalf of harmed investors.

If you have suffered investment losses, contact our office at (866) 827-6537 to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney. 

Investment Fraud Red Flags

Fraudsters use a number of tactics to manipulate investors. Educating yourself about common red flags can help protect your assets and prevent bad actors from stealing your investment.

Be aware of these top 10 investment fraud warning signs:

  1. “Risk-Free” Opportunities

Nothing is without risk. As noted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), all investments carry some degree of risk. If an investment is described as risk-free or carries little-to-no risk, it may not be worth investing.

  1. Promises of Guaranteed Returns

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A “guaranteed” investment should certainly be considered a red flag. There are no guarantees, as all investments can carry some risk. Be wary of “high yield investments” or when an investment is described as having a “high return with low risk.”

  1. High-Pressure Sales Tactics

It is not unusual for a bad actor to use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to invest in a scam. The person may make claims that they received a “hot tip” or are privy to “insider information.” All of these phrases should alarm you as an investor.

You should never feel pressured into investing. If a person is overly aggressive or demands that you act now, they may be pushing a scheme that they know is fraudulent.

  1. Unlicensed Professional

You should always check whether the person trying to sell you the investment is licensed. Registered representatives are required to be licensed with FINRA or through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both agencies offer ways to verify whether a person has the appropriate licensing. You can also check with your state securities regulator.

Never purchase an investment from someone who is not licensed. You can check whether a financial professional is registered through FINRA BrokerCheck or look up an investment adviser on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website.

  1. Unregistered Securities

Unregistered securities should also raise concerns. This may include stocks without a stock symbol or products where the underlying asset is unclear or undisclosed.

Investment fraud is widespread; doing your own research and due diligence can help you avoid suffering losses.

  1. Lack of Communication

The promoter of an investment should be ready and willing to share information about the product. A lack of communication, unanswered questions, or the hint of evasiveness are all problematic. You should not feel confused about your investment. Fraudsters often count on an investor’s lack of sophistication or knowledge.

  1. Short on Details

Any investment that is not clearly described should be avoided. A person trying to convince you to invest in a scam may tell you that the details of the product are very technical or complicated. Any investment that relies on a complex strategy likely comes with high risk. Always ask for documentation and clarity about the actual investment.

  1. The Source of the Opportunity

How did you learn about the opportunity? Was it from an “investment seminar” or an unsolicited email? Did you receive a cold call or materials sent in the mail? Many of these sources offer misleading information that lacks crucial details. Only invest with registered representatives that offer clear-cut information about the investment opportunity.

  1. Limited Time Offers

A clear indication that something may be a scam is if it is sold as a “limited time offer.” Bad actors may try to convince you that there are only a few investments left. Do not be lured with this false sense of urgency.

10. Other Investors

Finally, be aware that fraudsters may try to use peer pressure to get you to buy into the scam. They may tell you that “everyone is buying it” or even that friends and family have already invested.

Do not solely rely on what a promoter is telling you. Do independent research on the investment to determine whether it is a good fit for you and your portfolio.

Recovering Losses After Fraud

If you suspect that you suffered losses due to investment fraud, contact our office at (866) 827-6537. All consultations are free and without obligation to retain our services. We accept investor claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay our firm fees unless we recover losses on your behalf.

5 Ways to Protect Your Cryptocurrency From Fraud & Hacking

Safeguarding Your Cryptocurrency and Other Digital Assets

In the past two years, the price of cryptocurrency has skyrocketed, reaching historic highs in late 2021 before cooling slightly earlier this year. The meteoric rise of the crypto industry has attracted investors from across the globe and bad actors hoping to defraud crypto holders out of millions.

At Meyer Wilson, we represent investors who have been victimized by fraud or misconduct. Our experienced investment fraud attorneys have recovered over $350 million on behalf of aggrieved investors nationwide since 1999. If you are a crypto investor and have been defrauded or hacked, contact our office at (614) 532-4576 for a free case evaluation.

Keeping Your Cryptocurrency Secure

Cryptocurrency holders must remain vigilant to protect their assets from hackers and other forms of cyberattacks. People with large amounts of crypto have become the targets of hackers and other cybercriminals. Crypto investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact an investment fraud lawyer to determine their legal options.

Consider these 5 tips to protect your crypto assets:

  1. Be Skeptical

Always be skeptical about things that seem too good to be true. Do your research before investing and avoid schemes that promise huge returns on investment that have not been properly vetted.

Do not click on advertisements, unknown links, or respond to spam-like text messages. Hackers today are extremely sophisticated. Phishing scamsare becoming harder to discern.

One false click can install malware or, worse yet, unknowingly give a third-party access to your device. Never give out your login credentials, passwords, or other personal information.

  1. Add Additional Security Measures

Require a PIN or passcode to open your device and add other security measures for any logins. You should not be relying purely on SMS or text authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is preferred, which makes you enter more than one credential.

SIM Card Swap Scams are on the rise and have devastating consequences. Adding security measures to your device can help prevent these fraudulent schemes. If you are suddenly unable to make phone calls or send text messages from your mobile phone, contact your cellular provider immediately.

  1. Look for Suspicious Activity

Follow all of your transactions closely. If anything looks suspicious, investigate and report it as soon as possible. There are tools that can help you monitor your accounts for fraud, but you can also set up notifications when any changes are made within your wallet.

Even with monitoring tools set up, you should still routinely scan your wallet for unauthorized transactions. Protecting your cryptocurrency requires vigilance on multiple fronts. Hackers will seek vulnerabilities on your mobile device and your computer, as well as potential weaknesses in the exchanges that you use.

  1. Use Multiple Wallets

Just as you would want to diversify your portfolio, you want to diversify where you keep your wallets. Using multiple wallets can help ensure that if one is hacked, you do not suffer a complete loss.

Large amounts of cryptocurrency should not be stored in an exchange. Exchanges should be limited to funds that you plan to trade, while the bulk of your assets should be stored in a secured “cold wallet.”

Cold wallets, also referred to as hardware wallets, are private and not connected to the internet. They are less vulnerable to the types of attacks that typically afflict crypto holders. Cold wallets can help mitigate your losses.

  1. Change Your Password

It may seem obvious, but you should be changing your password regularly. Passwords should not be the same across your devices or apps.

Your passwords should not contain things that are easily found on social media sites, such as your birthdate, pet name, or anniversary. You can use a password generator or select a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters to make it more difficult for hackers to access your account.

Protecting Your Assets Now and in the Future

While cryptocurrency itself is highly secure, the personal devices, wallets, and exchanges used to trade or store digital assets are not. Cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated, which means that individual investors must take steps to secure their assets.

If you maintain an extensive crypto portfolio, you need to take a broad look at your devices to ensure that they are adequately secured. Contact your mobile carrier to ensure that they are taking steps to prevent data and security breaches.

Stay abreast of the latest scams that are affecting crypto holders, such as SIM Card Swapping. Hackers are savvier and more able to escape detection than in previous years. Doing your due diligence can help safeguard your investments and prevent catastrophic financial loss.

Recovering Losses After a Cryptocurrency Hack

In the event that you suffer losses as a result of a cryptocurrency hack or security breach, our investment fraud lawyers might be able to help.

Contact Meyer Wilson at (866) 827-6537 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our nationally-recognized legal team can help determine whether you have a valid claim for damages.